Give the Gift of Art This Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2019

Each year, February 14 is celebrated as Valentine's Day, honoring the Christian figure of Saint Valentine, who was apparently a martyr. Namely, in the martyrologies, the story of the Saint Valentine of Rome is found; he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers, who were lawfully forbidden to marry, and the legend tells that, while imprisoned, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge.

This date was associated with romantic love for the first time in the 14th century, when the courtly love blossomed. The celebration became fashionable in 18th-century England, so the lovers expressed mutual love by gifting each other with flowers, confectionery, and sending greeting cards. That is when the imagery including doves, the heart-shaped outline, and the figure of Cupid was embraced. Ultimately, during the 20th century, the Western Christian feast day became an important cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance more or less on a global scale.

In order to mark this manifestation of love and romance, we made a top list of nine exceptional artworks inspired by romantic feelings.

Featured image: Margaret Morrison - Red Rose. All images courtesy their respective galleries.

Ryan Callanan - Love is the Drug

The first artwork on our list was made by the artist Ryan Callanan, better known under the moniker RYCA. He is a distinct street artist whose aesthetic goes beyond the constraints of street art. Callanan’s approach is based on the skills and techniques he embraced as a 3D sign writer.

This particular piece called Love is the Drug was produced in 2018 as acrylic on metal and is reminiscent of Pop Art.

See more info about the work here.

Robert Indiana - My Love, My Love is Gone To You Poem, Book of Love

Following up is the work of Robert Indiana, one of the most prominent practitioners of Pop Art. This particular work can be considered as belonging to the iconic Love series, probably some of the most popular artworks on the global scale. Namely, Love was produced as a sort of a logo and the original image (green and blue spaces supporting red lettering) was used as a print for a Museum of Modern Art Christmas card in 1964, and it became widely popular after it was printed as a postage stamp in the States.

This particular work features a love poem Indiana wrote for his former lover and famous artist Ellsworth Kelly, and it features the original Love sign as an emblem.

See more info about the work here.

Marc Chagall - Les Amourex en gris (Lovers in grey)

Marc Chagall was one of the most prominent avant-garde figures in Russia known for paintings saturated with vibrant coloring, religious imagery, and fantasy narratives. His works were the embodiment of love and although they reflect a melancholic sentiment, they are quite optimistic.

This 1957 work depicts a couple in a state of mutual affection; it represents the best of his craftsmanship – affordability, and quality.

See more info about the work here.

Jim Dine - Two Hearts at Sunset

Next up is Jim Dine, yet another Pop art legend, best known for his Happenings. The artist used various techniques and a multitude of different references from popular culture to construct his aesthetic.

Two Hearts at Sunset is a print made in 2005 and it represents the idea embodied previously in a grandiose bronze sculpture called the Technicolor Heart which was commissioned by The Washington State Arts Commission in 2004.

See more info about the work here.

Mr. Brainwash - Love Splash

Behind the moniker Mr. Brainwash stands the French-born, Los Angeles-based street artist Thierry Guetta. Allegedly Guetta was an amateur videographer who became practicing street art through his cousin, the street artist Invader; his practice is based on satirical use of cultural iconography and he is best known for prints of celebrities and large-scale installations.

Love Splash is a print produced by the artist in 2010.

See more info about the work here.

Jana and JS - Le couple du quai 36

Next on our list is the Austrian artist duo called Jana & JS. They are well known for works which are deeply inspired by the architecture and portraits of ordinary people. The work Jana & JS was featured in numerous publications and exhibitions.

Le couple du quai 36 or The couple at Pier 36 is a painting made in 2016, and it literally depicts a couple entwined together while sleeping.

See more info about the work here.

Salvador Dali - Le Couple a la Bougie (Couple with a Candle)

Salvador Dali is one of the most famous artists in the world. His surrealist imagery, eccentric persona, and high level of innovation marked an entire era. The artist is best known for outstanding paintings which leave each observer breathless due to immense craftsmanship reminiscent of the Renaissance masters.

Le Couple a la Bougie is an etching made by the artist in 1968.

See more info about the work here.

Ryan Callanan - R2HEART2 (GLITTER GUM)

This the second work of Ryan Callanan on our list and it features the famous Star Wars robot R2D2 making a heart-shaped graffiti. This color silkscreen was produced in 2016.

See more info about the work here.

Margaret Morrison - Red Rose

The last on our list is the work of Margaret Morrison. She is a renowned artist and professor of art known for peculiar hyperrealist paintings composed of surreal subjects and still life images.

The painting Red Rose embodies her practice very well; she often works with the symbolism of different objects. In this case, a red rose is cropped in order to underline the expression of romantic and abiding love; however, the red rose also symbolizes power.

See more info about the work here.

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